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Report addresses expected rapid growth in NT seniors

By Katie Weiss

Northern Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr Andrew Taylor says the research aims to help shift negative perceptions of seniors Northern Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr Andrew Taylor says the research aims to help shift negative perceptions of seniors

Researchers have explored impacts from anticipated rapid growth in the number of seniors living in the Northern Territory.

Northern Institute researchers at Charles Darwin University have completed a major survey of seniors in light of an anticipated doubling of the NT’s proportion of population aged 65 years and over by 2041.

The survey, run in partnership with the Council on the Ageing NT (COTA NT), targeted about 2000 Territorians, including non-Indigenous people aged 50 years and over and Indigenous aged 45 years and over.

Senior Research Fellow Dr Andrew Taylor said key findings included a large anticipated growth in Indigenous Territorians aged 65 and over. The number of Indigenous seniors in the NT was expected to increase at around five per cent a year until 2041 due to past and future life expectancy improvements.

“It’s important that policy-makers work directly with seniors and their representing organisations to ensure their needs are met,” Dr Taylor said.

The survey showed 21 per cent of respondents anticipated leaving the NT before 2018 and that cost of living was the most significant reason for respondents’ anticipated moves away from the NT, with 31 per cent identifying this as a factor.

“We need to encourage seniors to stay in the NT throughout their retirement as their social and economic contributions to communities are vital,” he said.

“The research should help shift negative perceptions of seniors as an economic burden and demonstrate that they are active contributors who will be vital to future investment and innovation in the NT.”

The survey, “Now you see us! A Report on the Policy and Economic Impacts from Rapid Growth in the Number of Senior Territorians”, was conducted by Dr Taylor and fellow researchers Benxiang Zeng and Huw Brokensha.